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I accidentally let some of my okra grow much too large. It's about six inches long, and I've heard that it's inedible at this size--per this video it should be 2 1/2" to 3".

Is there any way to cook these or are they really best sent to the compost bin?

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Jeff, the disposal tag is for asking about how to dispose of something, not whether or not something should be disposed of. (It's also been used for garbage disposals, looks like.) If anything, this is a culinary-uses question. –  Jefromi Aug 22 '13 at 22:15
@Jefromi I don't see a tag description for disposal, but thanks. It's also aliased with "waste." I believe it's a perfectly reasonable use for the tag. Either way +1 for the good answer. –  Jeff Axelrod Aug 22 '13 at 22:18
Okay, I added a description for it which is consistent with how it's been used, the other tags we have, and the meaning/connotations of the word. It does happen to say what I said above. "Should or shouldn't I throw X away (but not in a food safety way)" is a very meta-tag that I don't think there's much reason to create. –  Jefromi Aug 22 '13 at 22:20
I've answered based on the information provided; if your okra is indeed too tough, please do edit further, and I'll happily take out the "maybe it's actually okay" part of my answer". –  Jefromi Aug 22 '13 at 22:23
In any case, culinary-uses is absolutely the right tag here - the description already says "products that are normally discarded or used in non-culinary applications". –  Jefromi Aug 22 '13 at 22:24

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

In my experience (I'm Texan, I've seen my share of okra), 2.5-3" is pretty small, and 6" is on the big side but I wouldn't expect it to be inedible. It's certainly going to be much more tender at 2.5-3"; there's no possible way it'll be too tough to eat. Larger does mean tougher, but at that size they might still be okay (for example this source says 4-6" is good). It looks like different varieties can have pretty different sizes - for example, this cow's horn okra is supposed to be best at 6-7" but still be good at 14"!

In any case, test the okra you have; no reason to choose just based on the length. Just try cutting it with a sharp knife, and if it's really hard and fibrous, you'll know. If it's borderline, any sort of long stewing method will be your best bet. You'd also want to cut it fairly thinly, so that you don't have very long fibrous strands to try to chew.

If it's really too hard to soften even like that, you might still be able to get some use out of it as a thickener but I don't think you'll ever be eating it on its own. If you want to try thickening with it, I'd cut it into bigger chunks, so that you can easily fish them out once they've done their work.

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